Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF has removed President Robert Mugabe as head of the party, replacing him with Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had recently been ousted as the country’s vice president. Mugabe remains the president of the country.
Grace Mugabe, the president’s wife, as well as Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Ignatius Chombo and Patrick Zhuwao, Mugabe’s nephew, were expelled from the party.
The meeting, held by ZANU-PF’s Central Committee, the highest decision-making body in the party, comes one day after a march of tens of thousands of people, in favor of ousting the long-serving leader. Protesters waved Zimbabwean flags and hoisted placards with slogans like, “Mugabe Must Rest Now,” and “No to a Mugabe Dynasty.”
Zimbabwe’s ruling party is reportedly facing an unprecedented mutiny by the head of the armed forces, as troops take up positions in the capital in an escalation of a dispute with 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
South African President Jacob Zuma, who is reportedly readying an envoy to mediate the situation, said Mugabe is “fine” and urged for “calm and restraint.”
Zuma, who contacted the embattled Mugabe, said the latter was “confined to his home.” The South African leader also contacted the Zimbabwean Defence Force, ZDF, according to a statement cited by the BBC.
Opposition Member of Parliament, Eddie Cross, told BBC that First Lady Grace Mugabe may have fled to Namibia.
According to earlier reports from the capital, Harare, explosions were heard in the streets as troops and armored military vehicles moved throughout the city.
The U.S. embassy reduced its staff due to the “uncertainty” of the country’s climate.
The African nation has recorded from 500,000 to 700,000 pregnancies annually, and a fifth of them in this age group are a consequence of child marriage, said the report, which also expressed concern about statistics on maternal mortality (about 514 women died in 2016 giving birth, according to official statistics).
Zimbabwean representative at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Cheikh Cisse, warned that the problem ‘requires our urgent attention’, as pregnancy in adolescence potentially reduces opportunities for girls and young women.
A teenager could provide a contribution to her country ‘if she did not get married during her childhood, if she is not forced to drop out school or exposed to an unplanned pregnancy that puts her at high risk for illness,’ Cisse said.
About 20,000 young people under 18 years old are giving birth each day, in developing countries, a figure equivalent to 7.3 million births per year, UNFPA says.
There are 101 adolescent births per 1,000 women in southern Africa, an issue that ‘remains a major challenge worldwide,’ Cisse stressed.
Adolescent pregnancy has been one of the main factors contributing to maternal and infant mortality and to the vicious circle of poor health and poverty, the official said.